No Comment Diary

The News Without Comment

This content shows Simple View


Donald Trump: “The Faith of Donald Trump,” a book just out by David Brody and Scott Lamb, is a very interesting read. Enjoy!

Donald Trump: The U.S. economy is looking very good, in my opinion, even better than anticipated. Companies are pouring back into our country, reversing the long term trend of leaving. The unemployment numbers are looking great, and Regulations & Taxes have been massively Cut! JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

Donald Trump: .@MittRomney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah. He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!

In His Own Words: Trump on Russian Meddling

In a tweet about Russia’s interference in the 2016 president campaign, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”

Before and after the Nov. 8, 2016, election, Trump has expressed the opinion that Russia did not hack the Democratic National Committee’s computers. “I don’t believe they interfered,” Trump told Time magazine during a Nov. 28, 2016, interview. In a Jan. 3, 2017 tweet, Trump dismissively referred to the cyber attack on the DNC as the “so-called ‘Russian hacking’.”

When he did acknowledge that Russia may have hacked into the DNC computers, Trump cast doubt on how the U.S. could ever know for sure who was responsible for the hacking. Claiming he knows “something about hacking,” Trump told CBS News on April 29, 2017, that “if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking.”

Trump made his revisionist remarks about his past comments on Russia in one of a series of tweets over two days, beginning on the evening of Feb. 17. That was the day after the special counsel’s office issued an indictment charging 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations with illegally interfering in the 2016 presidential election. 

The indictment alleged the defendants used the names of U.S. citizens and companies to illegally fund political advertising and political rallies. These illegal campaign activities were part of a larger “influence campaign” orchestrated by Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to a declassified intelligence report released Jan. 6, 2017. Among other things, the report said Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC computers and released hacked material to WikiLeaks and other outlets “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

Trump denied or doubted Russia’s involvement in the hacking from the first day that it became public in June 2016.

As we write in “Timeline of Russia Investigation,” the Washington Post reported on June 14, 2016, that Russian hackers had gained access to the DNC’s servers.

A day later, a person or group calling itself Guccifer 2.0 took credit in a blog post for hacking the DNC computers and released a few documents, including the Democratic Party’s 200-page opposition research report on Trump. That same day, Trump issued a statement saying, “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”

Now, he claims that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”

It’s true that Trump has said that the computer hacker “may be Russia, or China or another country or group.” It’s also true, as we have written, that there is no evidence that any other country or group was involved in the hack — just Russia.

It’s false, however, that Trump “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.” He alternately claimed that Russia did not or may not have interfered in the election — sometimes in the same interviews.

Here we recount, in Trump’s own words, what he has said about the role of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, taken in part from our timeline and other stories we have done on the subject:


June 14 — The Washington Post reports that Russian hackers had gained access to the DNC’s servers. It is the first public disclosure of the security breach.

June 15 —  CrowdStrike, a computer security firm hired by the DNC to investigate the hacking, says that Russia is behind the cyberattack. In a blog post on its website, CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch says that the company “immediately identified two sophisticated adversaries on the network – COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR.” He writes that “both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.”

Guccifer 2.0 takes credit in a blog post for hacking the DNC computers and releases a few documents, including the Democratic Party’s 200-page opposition research report on Donald Trump. “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks. They will publish them soon,” Guccifer 2.0 says in its blog post. (U.S. intelligence would later identify Guccifer 2.0 as the “persona” used by Russian military intelligence to release hacked emails to media outlets and WikiLeaks.)

Trump releases a statement that says: “We believe it was the DNC that did the ‘hacking’ as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”

July 25 — The FBI confirms it has opened an investigation into the hacking of the DNC computer network. In a tweet, Trump says: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails, which should never have been written (stupid), because Putin likes me.”

Sept. 8 — In an interview that airs on RT, formerly known as Russia Today, Trump says it is “pretty unlikely” that the Russian government was behind the hacks targeting the Democratic Party. “I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out. Who knows? But I think that it’s pretty unlikely,” Trump says. “I hope that if they are doing something I hope that somebody’s going to be able to find out so they can end it, because that would not be appropriate.”

Sept. 26 — At the first presidential debate, Trump discounts reports that Russia is behind the computer hacks targeting Democrats. “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC,” Trump says. “She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

Oct. 7 — WikiLeaks begins to release Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails.

The Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issue a joint statement saying that the U.S. intelligence community is “confident” that hacks into the email systems of the Democratic Party and its officials were directed by “Russia’s senior-most officials.”

Oct. 9 — At the second presidential debate, Clinton notes that “our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks … to influence our election.” Trump responds: “I notice any time anything wrong happens they like to say, the Russians, the Russians — she doesn’t know it’s the Russians doing the hacking, maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia.”

Oct. 12 — In a direct message on Twitter, WikiLeaks asks Donald Trump Jr., to have his father tweet a link to hacked Democratic emails that can be found on WikiLeaks: “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us i.e you guys can get all your followers digging through the content. There’s many great stories the press are missing and we’re sure some of your follows will find it.”

Donald Trump, the candidate, tweets, “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!” The tweet does not include a link to WikiLeaks, and it is not clear if the tweet is in response to WikiLeaks’ request.

Oct. 19 — At the third and final debate, Trump again refuses to accept the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was responsible for stealing emails of Democratic Party committees and officials. “She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else,” Trump says of Clinton. When Clinton interrupted to say it was the opinion of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the hacking, Trump responded: “And our country has no idea.”

Nov. 28 — In an interview with Time magazine, Trump says, “I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’” He goes on to say, “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey. I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.”

Dec. 9 — The Washington Post reports that the CIA believes Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was designed to help elect Trump. In response, Trump issues a statement that criticizes the U.S. intelligence community. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”


Jan. 3 — In advance of a meeting with U.S. intelligence officials about Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections, Trump tweets: “The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”

Jan. 4 — In a tweet, Trump repeats WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s denial that he received hacked DNC emails from Russia: “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”

Jan. 6 — The Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified intelligence report that says: “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.” The report says Russian intelligence services gained access to the Democratic National Committee computer network for nearly a year, from July 2015 to June 2016, and released hacked material to WikiLeaks and other outlets “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

April 29 — Trump tells CBS News’ John Dickerson, “[K]nowing something about hacking, if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking. With that being said, I’ll go along with Russia. Could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.”

Sept. 22 — As Facebook prepares to provide congressional investigators with more than 3,000 advertisements Russia purchased during the 2016 campaign, Trump tweets, “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

Nov. 11 — After meeting with Putin at Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Trump says he believes Putin “means it” when he says Russian didn’t interfere in the 2016 election. “[E]very time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth. Don’t forget, all he said is he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he’s very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”

There are other tweets, interviews and remarks from Trump about Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. But these are more than enough to establish that the president frequently doubted and sometimes denied that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC.

Russia Repeats

In his Twitterstorm about Russia, the president also repeated some false or unsupported claims that we have written about before.

Impact on election outcome: In response to White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster saying on Feb. 17 that it is “now really incontrovertible” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Trump tweeted that “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians.”

But there has been no determination on whether Russia’s meddling affected the election outcome or not.

In his Feb. 16 press conference, Rosenstein said, “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.” As we’ve written, that’s consistent with a declassified intelligence report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that was released on Jan. 6, 2017. That report accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf, but it “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Obama’s response to Russia: In a tweet on Feb. 18, Trump thanked Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, for saying in an interview that “the Obama administration should have done more” in response to Russian interference in the election.

“He is finally right about something,” Trump tweeted about Schiff’s statement. “Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing.”

Then, on Feb. 19, Trump again criticized Obama, tweeting: “Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?”

But Trump is wrong to say that Obama didn’t act before or after the election.

As we’ve written, Obama said that he spoke directly to Putin about the issue at the G-20 summit in September 2016. In addition, his administration worked with state officials from mid-August until Election Day to prevent voting systems from being hacked. The latter, Obama said, was his “principal goal leading up to the election.”

And after the election, Obama announced on Dec. 29, 2016, that he would impose sanctions on Russia for interfering in the election. Other actions Obama took included expelling 35 Russian intelligence operatives and closing two Russian government-owned compounds in the U.S.

At the time, Trump criticized the sanctions. “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” he said in a statement.

Share the Facts
2018-02-19 22:37:57 UTC
11 rating logo Rating:

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”
Donald Trump
President of the United States

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The post In His Own Words: Trump on Russian Meddling appeared first on Source:

Spinning the Russian Indictment

Contrary to spin from White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, the indictments handed down last week against 13 Russians for meddling in U.S. elections show they clearly supported one candidate over another in the 2016 presidential general election. And that candidate was Donald Trump.

Shah muddied that point in an interview with Fox News when he claimed the indictment shows the Russian efforts “were about sowing confusion in the electoral process and undermining the next president, not about supporting one candidate over the other.”

Shah, Feb. 16:  There’s three main points that we see from these indictments. One, as you mentioned, they started — this plot started in 2014 before the president jumped in the race. And what we also saw is that they proved that there’s no collusion. The biggest point that the president has been making since before this investigation even began. And the last point that this investigation – or rather, these indictments make clear, is that all these efforts were about sowing confusion in the electoral process and undermining the next president, not about supporting one candidate over the other. And so, really, when you see these efforts by Democrats, they’re pushing this collusion conspiracy, what they are doing is doing the dirty work for the Russians, for them. The media and the Democrats, making false claims, are really pushing what the Russians want them to push.

As we have written, the indictment did not clear Trump or his campaign of colluding with the Russians. It said that no American was a knowing participant in the illegal activity outlined in the indictment, but the investigation is continuing into other activities allegedly carried out by the Russians.

Shah is partially correct that the indictment says the Russian efforts “were about sowing confusion in the electoral process.” As the indictment put it, the Russian co-defendants “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system.” But Shah goes too far in saying the Russians efforts were “not about supporting one candidate over the other.”

According to the indictment, the Russian organization’s efforts to interfere in the American political process began in 2014. The group employed hundreds of people and spent millions of dollars from its hub in St. Petersburg, Russia to conduct what the group called “information warfare against the United States of America” by exploiting “divisive U.S. political and social issues.” The defendants used stolen identities and fake personas to pose as legitimate U.S. activists and set up social media accounts to engage in illegal political activity.

In May 2014, the Russian group had the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” (The emphasis is ours.)

In a tweet on Feb. 17, Trump accused the “Fake News Media” of ignoring that the origin of the group dated back to 2014, which Trump sarcastically noted  was before he had even decided to run for president.

That’s not accurate. News outlets such CNN, Washington Post and the New York Times all noted that the group was formed in 2014.

By 2016, the indictment states, the Russian group had turned its full attention to the presidential candidates. “They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump,” the indictment states on page 17. The indictment says that on Feb. 10, 2016, the Internet Research Agency, a Russian online propaganda operation, circulated among its employees “an outline of themes for future content to be posted to organization-controlled social media accounts.” Those responsible for posting content to social media accounts were told to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 18, Sanders — who lost to Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary — said the Russians efforts on his behalf were intended to hurt Clinton.

Sanders, Feb. 18: At the end of my campaign when it appeared that Clinton was going to win, and certainly after she won the nomination, what the Russians were doing was flocking to Bernie Sanders Facebook sites, and they were saying to Bernie Sanders supporters, as they were by the way to Black Lives Matter supporters, people who were fighting for social justice. As they were saying to the Muslim community, if you voted for Sanders, you have to understand Hillary Clinton is crazy, she’s a murderer, she is terrible, all kinds of horrible, horrible things, about Hillary Clinton.

By the general election, the group’s efforts were clear and focused: to support Trump and oppose Clinton. According to the indictment, “by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.”

A sampling of election-related hashtags produced by the group illustrates its rooting interest: #Trump2016, #TrumpTrain, #MAGA, #IWontProtectHillary, and #Hillary4Prison. The group also created social media accounts that included “March for Trump” on Twitter and “Clinton FRAUDation” and “Trumpsters United” on Facebook.

According to the indictment, the Russian defendants “used false U.S. personas to communicate with unwitting members, volunteers, and supporters of the Trump Campaign involved in local community outreach, as well as grassroots groups that supported then-candidate Trump.”

In the latter half of 2016, well into the general election season, the Russians “began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.” For example, just a few days before the election, the group purchased an Instagram ad that read, in part, “Choose peace and vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”

A sampling of political ads purchased by the group between April 6, 2016 and Oct. 19 of 2016 also shows one-sided support for Trump/opposition to Clinton. Among them: “I say no to Hillary Clinton / I say no to manipulation”; “Donald wants to defeat terrorism . . . Hillary wants to sponsor it”; “We cannot trust Hillary to take care of our veterans!”; and “Among all the candidates Donald Trump is the one and only who can defend the police from terrorists.” (See examples on page 20 of the indictment.)

During the general election, the indictment alleges, the Russian group also organized rallies in support of Trump and against Clinton.

After the election, the Russian group went back to sowing discord on both sides of the political aisle.

“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the president-elect, while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a Feb. 16 press conference announcing the indictment. “For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York, on the same day.”

Held on Nov. 12, 2016, the pro-Trump rally organized by the Russians was designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump,” while the anti-Trump rally was to show “Trump is NOT my President,” the indictment states. The group organized another rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 19.

In other words, the Russians’ efforts after the election were aimed, in part, at undermining the next president. Similarly, prior to the 2016 election, the indictment says the Russian organization’s aim was to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

But during the 2016 campaign itself, the indictment says the pattern was clear: an organized effort to oppose Clinton and to support Trump.

Share the Facts
2018-02-19 22:14:47 UTC
11 rating logo Rating:

“All these efforts [by the Russians] were about sowing confusion in the electoral process and undermining the next president, not about supporting one candidate over the other.”
Raj Shah
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary

Fox News
Friday, February 16, 2018

The post Spinning the Russian Indictment appeared first on Source:

Is Sudan facing economic collapse?

Is Sudan facing economic collapse?

February 20, 2018
A new budget, austerity measures and political tension fuel discontent.

[File: Reuters]


On Tuesday, February 20 at 19:30 GMT:


It was jubilation on the streets of Khartoum on Sunday after the release of activists and protesters who were arrested and imprisoned last month during protests against rising food prices in Sudan. Reuters news agency reported that about 40 prisoners were released, but some prominent opposition leaders were still being held.

Called the “bread protests”, anti-austerity demonstrations began in January after the government of President Omar al-Bashir announced the 2018 budget and further austerity measures. One Sudanese economist called the budget a “siege on the citizens.” The prices of basic household staples, especially flour, have steadily been rising. Several subsidies, such as for wheat and pharmaceuticals have been eliminated by the government, and the currency has been devalued in an effort to improve the local economy. Officially 1 US dollar is equal to $18 Sudanese pounds, but unofficially on the black market, the dollar is estimated to be selling for more than double that price.

The Bashir government has been investing in military as it continues fighting on several fronts – Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states. The government has formed a committee to examine the impact of the economic policies, and the prime minister has reassured the flow of basic commodities, according to the government.

In October 2017, the US lifted sanctions first imposed on the country 20 years earlier. While many blame the sanctions for the current state of the  economy, it has faltered since South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking with it 75 percent of the country’s oil reserves.

Street protests have been mostly quelled and there has been a virtual media blackout. Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday said peaceful demonstrations against price hikes were a constitutional right and that they did not bother the party. Kabashour Koko acknowledged that there was an economic crisis hurting the country’s citizens, saying "there are arrangements, procedures and some revisions."


On this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the worsening economic situation in Sudan, and ask in what direction the country is headed.


Read more:

Sudan releases activists arrested over ‘bread protests’ – Al Jazeera
Without meaningful change Sudan will descend into chaos – Al Jazeera Source:

Boris Johnson: RT @foreignoffice: The illegal wildlife trade is a serious organised crime. Today Foreign Secretary @BorisJohnson visited @metpoliceuk to see how they’re stopping illegally trafficked wildlife products from being sold on the black market

Donald Trump: Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?

Boris Johnson: Girls’ education is a “swiss army knife” that can help tackle instability, reduce conflict and bring prosperity. That’s why today I met key experts to discuss how to make quality education a reality for the world’s most vulnerable girls.

Boris Johnson: Wildlife trafficking is not just a crime taking place overseas. I was hugely impressed with the @metpoliceuk Wildlife Crime Unit’s efforts to tackle the trade here in the UK. I also tested out a new fingerprinting technique to help identify these criminals